Tag Archive for: Blackbeard

Blackbeard on a roll after Marble Hill triumph

Blackbeard extended his unbeaten run to three with an impressive success in the GAIN Marble Hill Stakes at the Curragh.

Trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Ryan Moore, Blackbeard was a Dundalk maiden winner in April before making the leap to Listed success at this track earlier in the month.

Moore was happy to let him bowl along in front in this six-furlong contest and the further he went, the better he looked – changing up a gear in the final furlong to easily see off evens favourite Tough Talk by three and a half lengths.

Betfair make him a 4-1 chance from 7-1 for the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and O’Brien believes Berkshire will be the next port of call.

“We weren’t exactly sure that he would get six, Ryan thought the last day that he would and obviously he got it very well,” said O’Brien.

“He relaxed very well and quickened very well, that’s what you’d really love about him.

“No Nay Never is usually an influence for speed, which is good, but some of them don’t get beyond sprinting distances. Looking at this horse there is every chance that he could.

“The first day he was very green in Dundalk and then he just won here the next day, his first run on grass and obviously he learned a lot from that and came forward a lot.

“You’d have to say he’s a Coventry type horse. We thought he’d be either a Norfolk or Coventry horse. We ran him today to see could he be a Coventry and you couldn’t say he didn’t pass that test.

“He can go either way I think.”

Tattersalls Irish Guineas Festival – Day Two – Curragh Racecourse
Hellsing (right) was a narrow Curragh winner (Brian Lawless/PA)

Hellsing (11-2) made a winning start for Ger Lyons and Colin Keane in the Tally Ho Stud Irish EBF (C&G) Maiden.

The Dandy Man colt finished with purpose in the six-furlong affair to deny O’Brien’s 13-8 favourite Congo River by half a length.

“That was lovely, he’s a typical Dandy Man,” said Lyons.

“We’ve had success with Dandy Man before first time out, we’ve always liked him but he has to back it up for me before I get high about him.

“He was bought with the Goffs Million in mind and I wanted to start him over six. He was to start a few weeks ago but had a bit of a dirty nose and that’s why we waited.

“If he hadn’t run today he was going to go straight into a seven-furlong race.

“He was shouting and roaring before the race and for one of mine he was very green. He did it well, on pure raw ability.

“We’ll see how he comes out of it but ultimately he was bought for the Goffs Million and we’ll work back from there.

“He’s a gorgeous horse, his brother (Navagio) won last night and he’s a gorgeous looking horse as well, so obviously the mare knows how to throw them. We’re happy to have them.”

Raise You struck Listed gold at the Curragh
Raise You struck Listed gold at the Curragh (Brian Lawless/PA)

Raise You (5-2) showed a smart turn of foot to come home three and a half lengths clear in the Listed Hanlon Concrete Orby Stakes for trainer Joseph O’Brien and jockey Shane Crosse.

The handler said: “The plan was to come here and get a nice start to the season. Settling and going up in trip has probably been the making of him over his past couple of runs.

“I thought Shane gave him a lovely confident ride today and I’m delighted to get a stakes win under his belt.

“I’m delighted to have a nice horse like this fella and hopefully there is better to come.

“I’d hope he might have achieved more by now, but maybe the best is yet to come.”

Mashhoor was a winner for Johnny Murtagh
Mashhoor was a winner for Johnny Murtagh (Brian Lawless/PA)

Mashhoor (7-1) led home a one-two for trainer Johnny Murtagh as he saw off Safecracker by four lengths under Shane Kelly in the William Hill Handicap.

Murtagh said: “There is fierce excitement there among the owners.

“He ran very well in Cork on his first run and he had a very good draw today, and was given a very good ride by Shane.

“There wasn’t much between our two at home, this lad probably had a better preparation.

“He’s probably mentally immature but is toughening up into it now and being by Kingman I’d say he has loads of class.

“There are handicaps in Ascot and that’s what we are in it for. The owners have had a great day at the Curragh and we’ll roll on to Ascot, if everything is OK, and have a shot there.”

Murtagh made it a double with the Ben Coen-ridden Chicago Bear in the closing William Hill Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap.

Fiach McHugh could head to Royal Ascot
Fiach McHugh could head to Royal Ascot (Brian Lawless/PA)

Royal Ascot could be the next port of call for Fiach McHugh (3-1) after his victory in the seven-furlong FBD Hotels And Resorts Handicap.

Winning trainer Andrew Slattery said: “I think he’ll get a mile ridden like that, we settled today out the back.

“We might give him an entry in the Britannia Stakes at Ascot.”

Blackbeard digs deep at the Curragh to stay unbeaten

Aidan O’Brien’s Blackbeard needed every yard to come on top in a thrilling finish to the Listed GAIN First Flier Stakes at the Curragh.

Cork winner Crispy Cat attempted to make all in the hands of Leigh Roche for Michael O’Callaghan and refused to lie down when challenged by the eventual winner throughout the closing stages of the five-furlong contest.

However, it was the Ballydoyle colt, sent off the 11-10 favourite, who had his head in front when it mattered most, responding gamely to Ryan Moore’s urgings and showing a most willing attitude to make it two from two.

The son of No Nay Never won in good style at Dundalk on debut and having continued his education here, looks to have booked his ticket to Royal Ascot, for which he was given quotes of 8-1 for the Norfolk Stakes over the minimum trip by Coral, while Betfair went 7-1 from 8-1 for the six-furlong Coventry Stakes.

O’Brien said: “The ground is softer than we thought it was going to be, but he did well to battle back.

“He’ll go on to Ascot for one of the races over five or six. Ryan said he could get six.

“If you can get a couple of runs before Ascot in this country you are very lucky. There are not that many races.”

Twilight Spinner brought up a quickfire double for Joseph O’Brien and rider Shane Crosse when justifying favouritism in the Coolmore Stud Circus Maximus Irish EBF Athasi Stakes.

The daughter of Twilight Son, who was sent off at 2-1, tracked My Holy Fox – the horse that led the small group that raced in the centre of the course – in the early stages of the seven-furlong Group Three contest and shaped like the most likely winner when pulled out into daylight by Crosse passing the two-furlong pole.

Twilight Spinner could be in Group One action later in the year
Twilight Spinner could be in Group One action later in the year (Niall Carson/PA)

Having taken a short while to be fully wound up and hit top gear, she kept on stoutly in the final furlong to draw just over three lengths clear of the front-running Cigamia at the line.

O’Brien – also successful in the Tetrarch Stakes with Buckaroo – said: “It was a good performance. We were thinking of running her in the Greenlands, but she has been shaping as though she was crying out to go up to seven furlongs. You would have to say that probably looks her trip now.

“She handled juice in the ground and it was very good to get a Group win as she was Group-placed. Hopefully she can continue to progress.

“We could look at something like the Maurice de Gheest which is over six and a half and the Foret later in the year.”

Blackbeard plunders Dundalk prize on debut

Aidan O’Brien unleashed his first potentially smart juvenile of the season at Dundalk as Blackbeard scooted clear in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.

A son of No Nay Never, he is the first foal of of Muirin and appeared to know his job on his debut.

He was sent off a 15-8 chance under Ryan Moore, with Alexis Zorba the 6-4 market leader, and having made smooth progress, he came home a length and a half clear of his market rival.

Chris Armstrong, representing O’Brien, said: “Aidan said he is a fast horse and he has shown plenty at home. Hopefully he’ll end up in (Royal) Ascot and he’ll probably go to the Marble Hill on the way.

“Ryan (Moore) gave him a lovely ride and he quickened away nicely in the finish.

“He’ll either be five or six (furlongs) but he has shown plenty of speed at home. His homework has been good and he will hopefully progress.”